"The Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul has warned that Islamic State are the most potent threat to the world since the Nazis.
In a hard-hitting article in today’s Mail on Sunday, the revered novelist brands the extremist Muslim organisation as the Fourth Reich, saying it is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s regime in its fanaticism and barbarity.
Calling for its ‘military annihilation,’ the Trinidadian-born British writer says IS is ‘dedicated to a contemporary holocaust’, has a belief in its own ‘racial superiority,’ and produces propaganda that Goebbels would be proud of.
A long-term critic of Islam as a global threat, he also challenges those who say the extremists have nothing to do with the real religion of Islam, suggesting that the simplicity of some interpretations of the faith have a strong appeal to a minority.
"Imagine a world in which a young man is locked in a cage, has petrol showered over him and is set alight to be burnt alive.
Imagine the triumphant jeering of an audience that has gathered to witness this. Imagine, also, a 12-year-old child with elated determination on his features shooting at close range a kneeling man with his arms tied behind his back.
Then picture the spectacle of a hundred beheadings of victim after victim in humiliating uniforms, their hands and feet bound, kneeling with their backs to their black-robed executioners who wield knives to cut their throats as though they were sacrificial lambs.
Picture queues of helpless men and women being marched by zealous executioners who nail them to wooden crosses and crucify them, howling and bleeding to death as crowds watch.
Then picture thousands of girls and women, their arms tied, being marched by hooded and armed captors into sexual slavery. And then, if that is not enough, picture men being thrown off cliffs to their deaths because they are accused of being gay.
Yes, all these scenes could have taken place in several continents in the medieval world, but they were captured on camera and broadcast to anyone with access to the internet. These are scenes, of yesterday, today and tomorrow in our own world.
I have always distrusted abstractions and have turned into writing what I could discover and explore for myself.
So I must begin by admitting that I have not recently travelled in those regions threatened by barbarism – the Middle East, the north west of Africa, in pockets of Pakistan and in the Islamic countries of south eastern Asia. Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich
Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich
However, in the 1980s and early 1990s I undertook to examine the ‘revival’ of Islam that was taking place through the revolution in Iran and the renewed dedication to the religion of other countries.
I travelled through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia attempting to discover the ideas and convictions behind this new ‘fundamentalism’.
My first book was called Among The Believers and the second, perhaps prophetically, Beyond Belief. Since those books were written, the word ‘fundamentalism’ has taken on new meanings.
As the word suggests, it means going back to the groundings, to the foundations and perhaps to first principles. It is used to characterise the interpretation given to passages of the Koran, to the Hadith, which is a collection of the acts in the life of the Prophet Mohammed and to an interpretation of sharia law.
However, the particular fundamentalist ideology of ‘Islamist’ groups that have dedicated themselves to terror – such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and now in its most vicious, barbaric and threatening form the Islamic Caliphate, Isis or the Islamic State (IS) – interprets the foundation and the beginning as dating from the birth of the Prophet Mohammed in the 6th Century.
This fundamentalism denies the value and even the existence of civilisations that preceded the revelations of the Koran.
It was an article of 6th and 7th Century Arab faith that everything before it was wrong, heretical. There was no room for the pre-Islamic past.
So an idea of history was born that was fundamentally different from the ideas of history that the rest of the world has evolved.
In the centuries following, the world moved on. Ideas of civilisation, of other faiths, of art, of governance of law and of science and invention grew and flourished.
This Islamic ideological insistence on erasing the past may have survived but it did so in abeyance, barely regarded even in the Ottoman Empire which declared itself to be the Caliphate of all Islam.
But now the evil genie is out of the bottle. The idea that faith abolishes history has been revived as the central creed of the Islamists and of Isis.
Their determination to deny, eliminate and erase the past manifests itself in the destruction of the art, artefacts and archaeological sites of the great empires, the Persian, the Assyrian and Roman that constitute the histories of Mesopotamia and Syria.
They have bulldozed landmarks in the ancient city of Dur Sharukkin and smashed Assyrian statues in the Mosul museum. Destroying the winged bull outside the fortifications of Nineveh satisfies the same reductive impulse behind the destruction by the Taliban of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan..." Read it all